Chinese dragon

Chinese dragon, also known as East Asian dragon or Long, are legendary creatures in Chinese mythology, Chinese folklore, and East Asian culture at large. Chinese dragons have many animal-like forms such as turtles and fish, but are most commonly depicted as snake-like with four legs. They traditionally symbolize potent and auspicious powers, particularly control over water, rainfall, typhoons, and floods. The dragon is also a symbol of power, strength, and good luck for people who are worthy of it in East Asian culture. During the days of Imperial China, the Emperor of China usually used the dragon as a symbol of his imperial strength and power.[1]

Flickr - archer10 (Dennis) - China-6219
Dragon stone relief, between flights of steps in the Forbidden City.
Anonymous-Ming Chengzu
Portrait of the Yongle Emperor wearing a dragon robe

In Chinese culture, excellent and outstanding people are compared to a dragon, while incapable people with no achievements are compared to other, disesteemed creatures, such as a worm. A number of Chinese proverbs and idioms feature references to a dragon, such as "Hoping one's son will become a dragon" (simplified Chinese: 望子成龙; traditional Chinese: 望子成龍; pinyin: wàng zǐ chéng lóng).

Dragon from China
Chinese/East Asian dragon
Chinese dragon
Dragon (Chinese characters)
"Dragon" in oracle bone script (top left), bronze script (top right), seal script (middle left), Traditional (middle right), Japanese new-style (shinjitai, bottom left), and Simplified (bottom right) Chinese characters
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese

Symbolic value

Historically, the Chinese dragon was associated with the Emperor of China and used a symbol to represent imperial power. The founder of Han dynasty Liu Bang claimed that he was conceived after his mother dreamt of a dragon.[2] During the Tang dynasty, Emperors wore robes with dragon motif as an imperial symbol, and high officials might also be presented with dragon robes.[3] In the Yuan dynasty, the two-horned five-clawed dragon was designated for use by the Son of Heaven or Emperor only, while the four-clawed dragon was used by the princes and nobles.[4] Similarly during the Ming and Qing dynasty, the five-clawed dragon was strictly reserved for use by the Emperor only. The dragon in the Qing dynasty appeared on the first Chinese national flag.[5]

The dragon is sometimes used in the West as a national emblem of China though such use is not commonly seen in the People's Republic of China or the Republic of China. Instead, it is generally used as the symbol of culture. In Hong Kong, the dragon was a component of the coat of arms under British rule. It was later to become a feature of the design of Brand Hong Kong, a government promotional symbol.[6]

The Chinese dragon has very different connotations from the European dragon – in European cultures, the dragon is a fire-breathing creature with aggressive connotations, whereas the Chinese dragon is a spiritual and cultural symbol that represents prosperity and good luck, as well as a rain deity that fosters harmony. It was reported that the Chinese government decided against using the dragon as its official 2008 Summer Olympics mascot because of the aggressive connotations that dragons have outside of China, and chose more "friendly" symbols instead.[7]

Metal dragon half frontal view
Chinese metal dragon half frontal view, holding a pearl in his paw. It is a taboo to disfigure a depiction of a dragon.

Sometimes Chinese people use the term "Descendants of the Dragon" (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ) as a sign of ethnic identity, as part of a trend started in the 1970s when different Asian nationalities were looking for animal symbols as representations, for example, the wolf may be used by the Mongols as it is considered to be their legendary ancestor.[2][5][8]

State symbol

Flag of the Commissioner of Weihaiwei (1899-1903)
Flag of the Commissioner of Weihaiwei with the Chinese dragon in the center, 1899–1903
Coat of arms of Hong Kong (1959–1997)
Chinese dragon was one of the supporters of the colonial Emblem of Hong Kong until 1997
Twelve Symbols national emblem of China
State emblem of Republic of China, 1913–1928

The dragon was the symbol of the Chinese emperor for many dynasties. During the Qing dynasty, the Azure Dragon was featured on the first Chinese national flag. It featured shortly again on the Twelve Symbols national emblem, which was used during the Republic of China, from 1913 to 1928.

Dragon worship


Dragon on a wall in Haikou - 01
A Chinese dragon on a wall at the Haikou Yazhou Gu Cheng, Hainan, China

The ancient Chinese self-identified as "the gods of the dragon" because the Chinese dragon is an imagined reptile that represents evolution from the ancestors and qi energy.[9] The presence of dragons within Chinese culture dates back several thousands of years with the discovery of a dragon statue dating back to the fifth millennium BC from the Yangshao culture in Henan in 1987,[10] and jade badges of rank in coiled form have been excavated from the Hongshan culture circa 4700-2900 BC.[11] Some of the earliest Dragon artifacts are the pig dragon carvings from the Hongshan culture.

The coiled dragon or snake form played an important role in early Chinese culture. The character for "dragon" in the earliest Chinese writing has a similar coiled form, as do later jade dragon amulets from the Shang period.[12]

Ancient Chinese referred to unearthed dinosaur bones as dragon bones and documented them as such. For example, Chang Qu in 300 BC documents the discovery of "dragon bones" in Sichuan.[13] The modern Chinese term for dinosaur is written as 恐龍; 恐龙; kǒnglóng ('terror dragon'), and villagers in central China have long unearthed fossilized "dragon bones" for use in traditional medicines, a practice that continues today.[14]

The binomial name for a variety of dinosaurs discovered in China, Mei long, in Chinese (寐 mèi and 龙 lóng) means 'sleeping dragon'. Fossilized remains of Mei long have been found in China in a sleeping and coiled form, with the dinosaur nestling its snout beneath one of its forelimbs while encircling its tail around its entire body.[15]

C-shaped jade dragon

The C-shaped jade totem of Hongshan culture (c. 4700–2920 B.C.)

Jade dragon 2

Jade-carved dragon garment ornament from the Warring States period (403 BC–221 BC).

Gilded Bronze Handle of a Dragon, Eastern Han

Gilded-bronze handle in the shape of a dragon head and neck, made during the Eastern Han period (25–220 AD)

Mythical creature

Dahuting Tomb mural detail showing mythlogical creatures, including a dragon, Eastern Han Dynasty
Mural depicting a dragon, from the Dahuting Tomb (Chinese: 打虎亭汉墓, Pinyin: Dahuting Han mu) of the late Eastern Han Dynasty (25–220 AD), located in Zhengzhou, Henan province, China
Qing Dynasty Dish with dragons
Dragons chasing flaming pearl, Qing dynasty

From its origins as totems or the stylized depiction of natural creatures, the Chinese dragon evolved to become a mythical animal. The Han dynasty scholar Wang Fu recorded Chinese myths that long dragons had nine anatomical resemblances.

The people paint the dragon's shape with a horse's head and a snake's tail. Further, there are expressions as 'three joints' and 'nine resemblances' (of the dragon), to wit: from head to shoulder, from shoulder to breast, from breast to tail. These are the joints; as to the nine resemblances, they are the following: his antlers resemble those of a stag, his head that of a camel, his eyes those of a demon, his neck that of a snake, his belly that of a clam (shen, ), his scales those of a carp, his claws those of an eagle, his soles those of a tiger, his ears those of a cow. Upon his head he has a thing like a broad eminence (a big lump), called [chimu] (尺木). If a dragon has no [chimu], he cannot ascend to the sky.[16]

Further sources give variant lists of the nine animal resemblances. Sinologist Henri Doré lists these characteristics of an authentic dragon: "The antlers of a deer. The head of a crocodile. A demon's eyes. The neck of a snake. A tortoise's viscera. A hawk's claws. The palms of a tiger. A cow's ears. And it hears through its horns, its ears being deprived of all power of hearing."[17] He notes that, "Others state it has a rabbit's eyes, a frog's belly, a carp's scales." The anatomy of other legendary creatures, including the chimera and manticore, is similarly amalgamated from fierce animals.

Chinese dragons were considered to be physically concise. Of the 117 scales, 81 are of the yang essence (positive) while 36 are of the yin essence (negative). Initially, the dragon was benevolent, wise, and just, but the Buddhists introduced the concept of malevolent influence among some dragons. Just as water destroys, they said, so can some dragons destroy via floods, tidal waves, and storms. They suggested that some of the worst floods were believed to have been the result of a mortal upsetting a dragon.

Many pictures of Chinese dragons show a flaming pearl under their chin or in their claws. The pearl is associated with spiritual energy, wisdom, prosperity, power, immortality, thunder, or the moon. Chinese art often depicts a pair of dragons chasing or fighting over the flaming pearl.

Chinese dragons are occasionally depicted with bat-like wings growing out of the front limbs, but most do not have wings, as their ability to fly (and control rain/water, etc.) is mystical and not seen as a result of their physical attributes.

This description accords with the artistic depictions of the dragon down to the present day. The dragon has also acquired an almost unlimited range of supernatural powers. It is said to be able to disguise itself as a silkworm, or become as large as our entire universe. It can fly among the clouds or hide in water (according to the Guanzi). It can form clouds, can turn into water, can change color as an ability to blend in with their surroundings, as an effective form of camouflage or glow in the dark (according to the Shuowen Jiezi).

In many other countries, folktales speak of the dragon having all the attributes of the other 11 creatures of the zodiac, this includes the whiskers of the Rat, the face and horns of the Ox, the claws and teeth of the Tiger, the belly of the Rabbit, the body of the Snake, the legs of the Horse, the goatee of the Goat, the wit of the Monkey, the crest of the Rooster, the ears of the Dog, and the snout of the Pig.

In some circles, it is considered bad luck to depict a dragon facing downwards, as it is seen as disrespectful to place a dragon in such manner that it cannot ascend to the sky. Also, depictions of dragons in tattoos are prevalent as they are symbols of strength and power, especially criminal organisations where dragons hold a meaning all on their own. As such, it is believed that one must be fierce and strong enough, hence earning the right to wear the dragon on his skin, lest his luck be consumed by the dragons.

Ruler of weather and water

Golden canteen with dragon, Ming Dynasty
A dragon seen floating among clouds, on a golden canteen made during the 15th century, Ming dynasty

Chinese dragons are strongly associated with water and weather in popular religion. They are believed to be the rulers of moving bodies of water, such as waterfalls, rivers, or seas. The Dragon God is the dispenser of rain as well as the zoomorphic representation of the yang masculine power of generation.[18] In this capacity as the rulers of water and weather, the dragon is more anthropomorphic in form, often depicted as a humanoid, dressed in a king's costume, but with a dragon head wearing a king's headdress.

There are four major Dragon Kings, representing each of the Four Seas: the East Sea (corresponding to the East China Sea), the South Sea (corresponding to the South China Sea), the West Sea (sometimes seen as the Qinghai Lake and beyond), and the North Sea (sometimes seen as Lake Baikal).

Because of this association, they are seen as "in charge" of water-related weather phenomena. In premodern times, many Chinese villages (especially those close to rivers and seas) had temples dedicated to their local "dragon king". In times of drought or flooding, it was customary for the local gentry and government officials to lead the community in offering sacrifices and conducting other religious rites to appease the dragon, either to ask for rain or a cessation thereof.

The King of Wuyue in the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period was often known as the "Dragon King" or the "Sea Dragon King" because of his extensive hydro-engineering schemes which "tamed" the sea.

Symbol of imperial authority

An imperial robe from the Qing dynasty

According to Chinese legend, both Chinese primogenitors, the earliest Door and the Yellow Emperor (Huangdi), were closely related to 'Long' (Chinese dragon). At the end of his reign, the first legendary ruler, the Yellow Emperor, was said to have been immortalized into a dragon that resembled his emblem, and ascended to Heaven. The other legendary ruler, the Yan Emperor, was born by his mother's telepathy with a mythical dragon. Since the Chinese consider the Yellow Emperor and the Yan Emperor as their ancestors, they sometimes refer to themselves as "the descendants of the dragon". This legend also contributed towards the use of the Chinese dragon as a symbol of imperial power.

Dragons (usually with five claws on each foot) were a symbol for the emperor in many Chinese dynasties. During the Qing dynasty, the imperial dragon was colored yellow or gold, and during the Ming dynasty it was red.[19] The imperial throne was referred to as the Dragon Throne. During the late Qing dynasty, the dragon was even adopted as the national flag. Dragons are featured in carvings on the stairs and walkways of imperial palaces and imperial tombs, such as at the Forbidden City in Beijing.

In some Chinese legends, an emperor might be born with a birthmark in the shape of a dragon. For example, one legend tells the tale of a peasant born with a dragon birthmark who eventually overthrows the existing dynasty and founds a new one; another legend might tell of the prince in hiding from his enemies who is identified by his dragon birthmark.

In contrast, the Empress of China was often identified with the Chinese phoenix.

Modern belief

Worship of the Dragon God is celebrated throughout China with sacrifices and processions during the fifth and sixth moons, and especially on the date of his birthday the thirteenth day of the sixth moon.[18] A folk religious movement of associations of good-doing in modern Hebei is primarily devoted to a generic Dragon God whose icon is a tablet with his name inscribed, for which it has been named the "movement of the Dragon Tablet".[20]

Depictions of the dragon

An ancient seal script form of the character for "dragon" that is now written or and pronounced lóng in Mandarin Chinese.

Neolithic depictions

Chinese - Dragon - Walters 492425 - Profile
Symbols of dragons were placed in tombs as means to get to heaven.[21] The Walters Art Museum.

Dragons or dragon-like depictions have been found extensively in neolithic-period archaeological sites throughout China. The earliest depiction of dragons was found at Xinglongwa culture sites. Yangshao culture sites in Xi'an have produced clay pots with dragon motifs. A burial site Xishuipo in Puyang which is associated with the Yangshao culture shows a large dragon mosaic made out of clam shells.[22] The Liangzhu culture also produced dragon-like patterns. The Hongshan culture sites in present-day Inner Mongolia produced jade dragon objects in the form of pig dragons which are the first 3-dimensional representations of Chinese dragons.[23]

One such early form was the pig dragon. It is a coiled, elongated creature with a head resembling a boar.[24] The character for "dragon" in the earliest Chinese writing has a similar coiled form, as do later jade dragon amulets from the Shang dynasty.

Classical depictions

Phra Maha Chedi Chai Mongkol Naga emerging from mouth of Makara
Phra Maha Chedi Chai Mongkol Naga emerging from mouth of Makara

Chinese literature and myths refer to many dragons besides the famous long. The linguist Michael Carr analyzed over 100 ancient dragon names attested in Chinese classic texts.[25] Many such Chinese names derive from the suffix -long:

  • Tianlong (Chinese: 天龍; pinyin: tiānlóng; Wade–Giles: t'ien-lung; literally: 'heavenly dragon'), celestial dragon that guards heavenly palaces and pulls divine chariots; also a name for the constellation Draco
  • Shenlong (神龍; shénlóng; shen-lung; 'god dragon'), thunder god that controls the weather, appearance of a human head, dragon's body, and drum-like stomach
  • Fuzanglong (伏藏龍; fúcánglóng; fu-ts'ang-lung; 'hidden treasure dragon'), underworld guardian of precious metals and jewels, associated with volcanoes
  • Dilong (地龍; dìlóng; ti-lung; 'earth dragon'), controller of rivers and seas; also a name for earthworm
  • Yinglong (應龍; yìnglóng; ying-lung; 'responding dragon'), winged dragon associated with rains and floods, used by Yellow Emperor to kill Chi You
  • Jiaolong (蛟龍; jiāolóng; chiao-lung; 'crocodile dragon'), hornless or scaled dragon, leader of all aquatic animals
  • Panlong (蟠龍; pánlóng; p'an-lung; 'coiled dragon'), lake dragon that has not ascended to heaven
  • Huanglong (黃龍; huánglóng; huang-lung; 'yellow dragon'), hornless dragon symbolizing the emperor
  • Feilong (飛龍; fēilóng; fei-lung; 'flying dragon'), winged dragon that rides on clouds and mist; also a name for a genus of pterosaur (compare Feilong kick and Fei Long character)
  • Qinglong (青龍; qīnglóng; ch'ing-lung; 'Azure Dragon'), the animal associated with the East in the Chinese Four Symbols, mythological creatures in the Chinese constellations
  • Qiulong (虯龍; qíulóng; ch'iu-lung; 'curling dragon'), contradictorily defined as both "horned dragon" and "hornless dragon"
  • Zhulong (燭龍; zhúlóng; chu-lung; 'torch dragon') or Zhuyin (燭陰; zhúyīn; chu-yin; 'illuminating darkness') was a giant red draconic solar deity in Chinese mythology. It supposedly had a human's face and snake's body, created day and night by opening and closing its eyes, and created seasonal winds by breathing. (Note that this zhulong is different from the similarly named Vermilion Dragon or the Pig dragon).
  • Chilong (螭龍 or 魑龍; chīlóng; ch'ih-lung; 'demon dragon'), a hornless dragon or mountain demon

Fewer Chinese dragon names derive from the prefix long-:

  • Longwang (龍王; lóngwáng; lung-wang; 'Dragon Kings') divine rulers of the Four Seas
  • Longma (龍馬; lóngmǎ; lung-ma; 'dragon horse'), emerged from the Luo River and revealed ba gua to Fu Xi

Some additional Chinese dragons are not named with long , for instance,

  • Hong (; hóng; hung; 'rainbow'), a two-headed dragon or rainbow serpent
  • Shen (; shèn; shen; 'giant clam'), a shapeshifting dragon or sea monster believed to create mirages
  • Bashe (巴蛇; bāshé; pa-she; 'ba snake') was a giant python-like dragon that ate elephants
  • Teng (; téng; t'eng) or Tengshe (腾蛇; 騰蛇; téngshé; t'eng-she; lit. "soaring snake") is a flying dragon without legs

Chinese scholars have classified dragons in diverse systems. For instance, Emperor Huizong of the Song dynasty canonized five colored dragons as "kings".

  • The Azure Dragon [Qinglong 青龍] spirits, most compassionate kings.
  • The Vermilion Dragon [Zhulong 朱龍 or Chilong 赤龍] spirits, kings that bestow blessings on lakes.
  • The Yellow Dragon [Huanglong 黃龍] spirits, kings that favorably hear all petitions.
  • The White Dragon [Bailong 白龍] spirits, virtuous and pure kings.
  • The Black Dragon [Xuanlong 玄龍 or Heilong 黑龍] spirits, kings dwelling in the depths of the mystic waters.[26]

With the addition of the Yellow Dragon of the Center to Azure Dragon of the East, these Vermilion, White, and Black Dragons coordinate with the Four Symbols, including the Vermilion Bird of the South, White Tiger of the West, and Black Tortoise of the North.

Nine sons of the dragon

Pulao in Changchun Temple, Wuhan

Several Ming dynasty texts list what were claimed as the Nine Offspring of the Dragon (龍生九子), and subsequently these feature prominently in popular Chinese stories and writings. The scholar Xie Zhaozhe (謝肇淛, 1567–1624) in his work Wu Za Zu (五雜俎, c. 1592) gives the following listing, as rendered by M.W. de Visser:

A well-known work of the end of the sixteenth century, the Wuzazu 五雜俎, informs us about the nine different young of the dragon, whose shapes are used as ornaments according to their nature.

  • The [pú láo 蒲牢], four leg small form dragon class which like to scream, are represented on the tops of bells, serving as handles.
  • The [qiú niú 囚牛], which like music, are used to adorn musical instruments.
  • The [chī wěn 蚩吻], which like swallowing, are placed on both ends of the ridgepoles of roofs (to swallow all evil influences).
  • The [cháo fēng 嘲風], beasts-like dragon which like adventure, are placed on the four corners of roofs.
  • The [yá zì 睚眦], which like to kill, are engraved on sword guards.
  • The [xì xì 屓屭], which have the shape of the [chī hǔ 螭虎 (One kind small form dragon)], and are fond of literature, are represented on the sides of grave-monuments.
  • The [bì àn 狴犴], which like litigation, are placed over prison gates (in order to keep guard).
  • The [suān ní 狻猊], which like to sit down, are represented upon the bases of Buddhist idols (under the Buddhas' or Bodhisattvas' feet).
  • The [bì xì 贔屭], also known as [bà xià 霸下], finally, big tortoises which like to carry heavy objects, are placed under grave-monuments.

Further, the same author enumerates nine other kinds of dragons, which are represented as ornaments of different objects or buildings according to their liking prisons, water, the rank smell of newly caught fish or newly killed meat, wind and rain, ornaments, smoke, shutting the mouth (used for adorning key-holes), standing on steep places (placed on roofs), and fire.[27]

The Sheng'an waiji (升庵外集) collection by the poet Yang Shen (楊慎, 1488–1559) gives different 5th and 9th names for the dragon's nine children: the tāo tiè (饕餮), form of beasts, which loves to eat and is found on food-related wares, and the jiāo tú (椒圖), which looks like a conch or clam, does not like to be disturbed, and is used on the front door or the doorstep. Yang's list is bì xì, chī wěn or cháo fēng, pú láo, bì àn, tāo tiè, qiú niú, yá zì, suān ní, and jiāo tú. In addition, there are some sayings including [bā xià 𧈢𧏡], Hybrid of reptilia animal and dragon, a creature that likes to drink water, and is typically used on bridge structures.[28]

Oldest known attestation of the "children of the dragon" list is found in the Shuyuan zaji (菽園雜記, Miscellaneous records from the bean garden) by Lu Rong (1436–1494); however, he noted that the list enumerates mere synonyms of various antiques, not children of a dragon.[29] The nine sons of the dragon were commemorated by the Shanghai Mint in 2012's year of the dragon with two sets of coins, one in silver, and one in brass. Each coin in the sets depicts one of the 9 sons, including an additional coin for the father dragon, which depicts the nine sons on the reverse.[30]

Dragon claws

Freer 013
Reverse of bronze mirror, 8th century, Tang dynasty, showing a dragon with three toes on each foot

Early Chinese dragons are depicted with two to five claws. Different countries that adopted the Chinese dragon have different preferences; in Mongolia and Korea, four-clawed dragons are used, while in Japan, three-clawed dragons are common.[31] By the Yuan dynasty, the five-clawed dragons became reserved for use by the emperor while the princes used four-clawed dragons.[4] The usage of the dragon motif was codified during the Yuan dynasty, and phoenixes and five-clawed two-horned dragons may not be used on the robes of officials and other objects such as plates and vessels.[4][32] It was further stipulated that for commoners, "it is forbidden to wear any cloth with patterns of Qilin, Male Fenghuang (Chinese phoenix), White rabbit, Lingzhi, Five-Toe Two-Horn Dragon, Eight Dragons, Nine Dragons, 'Ten thousand years', Fortune-longevity character and Golden Yellow etc."[33]

The Hongwu Emperor of the Ming dynasty emulated the Yuan dynasty rules on the use of the dragon motif and decreed that the dragon would be his emblem and that it would have five claws. The four-clawed dragon would be used typically for imperial nobility and certain high-ranking officials. The three-clawed dragon was used by lower ranks and the general public (widely seen on various Chinese goods in the Ming dynasty). The dragon, however, was only for select royalty closely associated with the imperial family, usually in various symbolic colors, while it was a capital offense for anyone—other than the emperor himself—to ever use the completely gold-colored, five-clawed Long dragon motif. Improper use of claw number or colors was considered treason, punishable by execution of the offender's entire clan. The convention was carried into the Qing dynasty, and portraits of the Qing emperors were usually depicted with five-clawed dragons.

In works of art that left the imperial collection, either as gifts or through pilfering by court eunuchs (a long-standing problem), where practicable, one claw was removed from each set, as in several pieces of carved lacquerware,[34] for example the well known Chinese lacquerware table in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.[35]

Cultural references

Number nine

‪A close up view of one full dragon (and the tail end and claw of another) from the Nine Dragons handscroll painted in 1244 by Song dynasty artist Chen Rong‬
A close up view of one full dragon (and the tail end and claw of another) from the Nine Dragons handscroll painted in 1244 by Song dynasty artist Chen Rong

The number nine is special in China as it is seen as number of the heaven, and Chinese dragons are frequently connected with it. For example, a Chinese dragon is normally described in terms of nine attributes and usually has 117 (9x13) scales—81 (9x9) Yang and 36 (9x4) Yin. This is also why there are nine forms of the dragon and there are 9 sons of the dragon (see Classical depictions above). The Nine-Dragon Wall is a spirit wall with images of nine different dragons, and is found in imperial Chinese palaces and gardens. Because nine was considered the number of the emperor, only the most senior officials were allowed to wear nine dragons on their robes—and then only with the robe completely covered with surcoats. Lower-ranking officials had eight or five dragons on their robes, again covered with surcoats; even the emperor himself wore his dragon robe with one of its nine dragons hidden from view.

There are a number of places in China called "Nine Dragons", the most famous being Kowloon (in Cantonese) in Hong Kong. The part of the Mekong in Vietnam is known as Cửu Long, with the same meaning.

Chinese zodiac

The Dragon is one of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac which is used to designate years in the Chinese calendar. It is thought that each animal is associated with certain personality traits. Dragon years are usually the most popular to have children. There are more people born in Dragon years than in any other animal years of the zodiac.


The Azure Dragon (Qing Long, 青龍) is considered to be the primary of the four celestial guardians, the other three being the Zhu Que—朱雀 (Vermilion Bird), Bai Hu—白虎 (White Tiger), Xuan Wu—玄武 (Black Tortoise-like creature). In this context, the Azure Dragon is associated with the East and the element of Wood.

Dragonboat racing

Chinese silk, 4th Century BC
Detail of an embroidered silk gauze ritual garment from a 4th-century BC Zhou era tomb at Mashan, Hubei province, China. The flowing, curvilinear design incorporates dragons, phoenixes, and tigers.

At special festivals, especially the Duanwu Festival, dragon boat races are an important part of festivities. Typically, these are boats paddled by a team of up to 20 paddlers with a drummer and steersman. The boats have a carved dragon as the head and tail of the boat. Dragon boat racing is also an important part of celebrations outside of China, such as at Chinese New Year. A similar racing is popular in India in the state of Kerala called Vallamkali and there are records on Chinese traders visiting the seashores of Kerala centuries back (Ibn Batuta).

Dragon dancing

On auspicious occasions, including Chinese New Year and the opening of shops and residences, festivities often include dancing with dragon puppets. These are "life sized" cloth-and-wood puppets manipulated by a team of people, supporting the dragon with poles. They perform choreographed moves to the accompaniment of drums, drama, and music. They also wore good clothing made of silk.

Dragons and nāgas

Ulmus pumila 'Pendula', 1908
'Dragon's-Claw Elm', Fengtai, 1908

In many Buddhist countries, the concept of the nāga has been merged with local traditions of great and wise serpents or dragons, as depicted in this stairway image of a multi-headed nāga emerging from the mouth of a Makara in the style of a Chinese dragon at Phra Maha Chedi Chai Mongkol on the premises of Wat Pha Namthip Thep Prasit Vararam in Thailand's Roi Et Province Nong Phok District.

Dragons and tigers

The tiger is considered to be the eternal rival to the dragon, thus various artworks depict a dragon and tiger fighting an epic battle. A well used Chinese idiom to describe equal rivals (often in sports nowadays) is "Dragon versus Tiger". In Chinese martial arts, "Dragon style" is used to describe styles of fighting based more on understanding movement, while "Tiger style" is based on brute strength and memorization of techniques.

Dragons and botany

The elm cultivar Ulmus pumila 'Pendula', from northern China, called 'Weeping Chinese Elm' in the West, is known locally as Lung chao yü shu (: 'Dragon's-claw elm') owing to its branching.[36][37]

In popular culture

  • As a part of traditional folklore, dragons appear in a variety of mythological fiction. In the classical novel Journey to the West, the son of the Dragon King of the West was condemned to serve as a horse for the travelers because of his indiscretions at a party in the heavenly court. Sun Wukong's staff, the Ruyi Jingu Bang, was robbed from Ao Guang, the Dragon King of the East Sea. In Fengshen Yanyi and other stories, Nezha, the boy hero, defeats the Dragon Kings and tames the seas. Chinese dragons also appear in innumerable Japanese anime films and television shows, manga, and in Western political cartoons as a personification of the People's Republic of China. The Chinese respect for dragons is emphasized in Naomi Novik's Temeraire novels, where they were the first people to tame dragons and are treated as equals, intellectuals, or even royalty, rather than beasts solely bred for war in the West. Manda is a large Chinese dragon that appears in the Godzilla storyline. A golden three-headed dragon also appears in the comic book series God Is Dead.
  • Red dragon is a symbol of China which appears in many Mahjong games.
  • A Chinese Water-Dragon is used as the main antagonist in Season 3 of the Australian television series Mako Mermaids. The Dragon is heavily based on Chinese mythology to coincide with a new Chinese mermaid on the show.

Regional variations across Asia

While depictions of the dragon in art and literature are consistent throughout the cultures in which it is found, there are some regional differences.

For more information on peculiarities in the depiction of the dragon in other Asian cultures, see:

Dragons related to the Chinese dragon:

Dragons similar to the Chinese dragon:

  • Makara, a sea Dragon in Hindu and Buddhist mythology
  • Yali, a mythical creature in Hindu mythology
  • Nepalese dragon as depicted with Bahirav



Non-Imperial Chinese dragon in Shanghai

Temple Dragon

Mini-Sculpture of a Dragon on top of a temple in Hsinchu, Taiwan

A visitor of Sanggar Agung Temple toke a picture under the dragon statues, Surabaya-Indonesia

Giant dragon statues surrounded by the sea at Sanggar Agung Temple, Surabaya, Indonesia

Vihara Dharmayana Kuta 2

The Chinese dragon statue at Vihara Dharmayana Kuta, Bali

See also



  1. ^ Ingersoll, Ernest; et al. (2013). The Illustrated Book of Dragons and Dragon Lore. Chiang Mai: Cognoscenti Books.
  2. ^ a b Dikötter, Frank (10 November 1997). The Construction of Racial Identities in China and Japan. C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd. pp. 76–77. ISBN 978-1850652878.
  3. ^ "Imperial Dragons". Kyoto National Museum.
  4. ^ a b c Linda Komaroff (ed.). Beyond the Legacy of Genghis Khan. Brill Academic Publishers. p. 320. ISBN 9789047418573.
  5. ^ a b Sleeboom, Margaret. [2004] (2004). Academic Nations in China and Japan Framed in concepts of Nature, Culture and the Universal. Routledge publishing. ISBN 0-415-31545-X
  6. ^ "Brand Overview", Brand Hong Kong, 09-2004 retrieved on 23-02-2007. Archived December 23, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Fiery Debate Over China's Dragon", BBC News, an article covering China's decision not to use a dragon mascot and the resulting disappointment.
  8. ^ "The Mongolian Message".
  9. ^ Dr Zai, J. Taoism and Science: Cosmology, Evolution, Morality, Health and more. Ultravisum, 2015.
  10. ^ Howard Giskin and Bettye S. Walsh (2001). An introduction to Chinese culture through the family. State University of New York Press. p. 126. ISBN 0-7914-5047-3.
  11. ^ "Teaching Chinese Archeology" Archived 2008-02-11 at the Wayback Machine, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
  12. ^ Salviati, Filippo (2002). The Language of Adornment: Chinese Ornaments of Jade, Crystal, Amber and Glass, Fig. 17. Ten Speed Press. ISBN 1-58008-587-3.
  13. ^ Dong Zhiming (1992). Dinosaurian Faunas of China. China Ocean Press, Beijing. ISBN 3-540-52084-8. OCLC 26522845.
  14. ^ "Dinosaur bones 'used as medicine'". BBC News Online. 2007-07-06. Retrieved 2007-07-06.
  15. ^ Xu and Norell, (2004). "A new troodontid dinosaur from China with avian-like sleeping posture". Nature, 431(7010): 838–841. doi:10.1038/news041011-7
  16. ^ de Visser, Marinus Willem (1913). "The Dragon in China and Japan". Verhandelingen der Koninklijke akademie van wetenschappen te Amsterdam. Afdeeling Letterkunde. Nieuwe reeks, deel xiii, no. 2. Amsterdam: Johannes Müller: 70. (Also available at University of Georgia Library Archived 2016-12-25 at the Wayback Machine)
  17. ^ Doré, Henri (1966) [1917]. Researches into Chinese Superstitions. Translated by M. Kennelly; D. J. Finn; L. F. McGreat. Ch'eng-wen. p. 681.
  18. ^ a b Tom (1989), p. 55.
  19. ^ Hayes, L. (1923). The Chinese Dragon. Shanghai, China: Commercial Press Ltd. Retrieved from
  20. ^ Zhiya Hua. Dragon's Name: A Folk Religion in a Village in South-Central Hebei Province. Shanghai People's Publishing House, 2013. ISBN 7208113297
  21. ^ "Chinese Dragon". The Walters Art Museum.
  22. ^ Hung-Sying Jing; Allen Batteau (2016). The Dragon in the Cockpit: How Western Aviation Concepts Conflict with Chinese Value Systems. Routledge. p. 83. ISBN 9781317035299.
  23. ^ John Onians (26 April 2004). Atlas of World Art. Laurence King Publishing. p. 46. ISBN 978-1856693776.
  24. ^ "Jade coiled dragon, Hongshan Culture (c. 4700-2920 B.C.)" Archived 2007-03-13 at the Wayback Machine, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Retrieved on 23-02-2007.
  25. ^ Carr, Michael. 1990. "Chinese Dragon Names", Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area 13.2:87–189. He classified them into seven categories: Rain-dragons, Flying-dragons, Snake-dragons, Wug-dragons [wug refers to "worms, bugs, and small reptiles"], Crocodile-dragons, Hill-dragons, and Miscellaneous dragons.
  26. ^ Adapted from Doré 1966, p. 682.
  27. ^ de Visser 1913, pp. 101–102. The primary source is Wu Za Zu, chapter 9, beginning with "龍生九子...". The title of Xie Zhaozhe's work, Wu Za Zu, has been variously translated into English as Five Assorted Offerings (in Xie Zhaozhe), Five Sundry Bands (in "Disease and Its Impact on Politics, Diplomacy, and the Military ...") or Five Miscellanies (in Changing clothes in China: fashion, history, nation, p. 48).
  28. ^ 吾三省 (Wu Sanxing) (2006). 中國文化背景八千詞 (Eight thousand words and expressions viewed against the background of Chinese culture) (in Chinese). 商務印書館(香港) (Commercial Press, Hong Kong). p. 345. ISBN 962-07-1846-1.
  29. ^ 九、龙的繁衍与附会——龙生九子 (1) ("Chapter 9, Dragon's derived and associated creatures: Nine children of the dragon (1)"), in Yang Jingrong and Liu Zhixiong (2008). The full text of Shuyuan zaji, from which Yang and Liu quote, is available in electronic format at a number of sites, e.g. here: 菽園雜記 Archived 2010-03-06 at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ CCT4243: 2012 lunar dragon nine sons of the dragon 20 coin set
  31. ^ "Famous Japanese Dragons".
  32. ^ 《志第二十八 輿服一》. The History of Yuan.
  33. ^ 《本紀第三十九 順帝二》. The History of Yuan, Emperor Shundi (元史·順帝紀), compiled under Song Lian (宋濂), AD 1370. 禁服麒麟、鸞鳳、白兔、靈芝、雙角五爪龍、八龍、九龍、萬壽、福壽字、赭黃等服
  34. ^ Rawson, Jessica (ed). The British Museum Book of Chinese Art, p. 177, 2007 (2nd edn), British Museum Press, ISBN 9780714124469
  35. ^ Clunas, Craig and Harrison-Hall, Jessica, Ming: 50 years that changed China, p. 107, 2014, British Museum Press, ISBN 9780714124841
  36. ^ U. pumila 'Pendula', 'Inventory of Seeds and Plants Imported ... April–June 1915' (March 1918),
  37. ^ U. pumila 'Pendula', 中国自然标本馆. Retrieved 2013-08-30.


External links

Asian arowana

The Asian arowana (Scleropages formosus) comprises several phenotypic varieties of freshwater fish distributed geographically across Southeast Asia. While most consider the different varieties to belong to a single species, work by Pouyaud et al. (2003) differentiates these varieties into multiple species. They have several other common names, including Asian bonytongue, dragonfish, and a number of names specific to the different color varieties.

Native to Southeast Asia, Asian arowanas inhabit blackwater rivers, slow-moving waters flowing through forested swamps and wetlands. Adults feed on other fish, while juveniles feed on insects.These popular aquarium fish have special cultural significance in areas influenced by Chinese culture. The name 'dragonfish' stems from their resemblance to the Chinese dragon. This popularity has had both positive and negative effects on their status as endangered species.

Chinatown, Baltimore

The U.S. city of Baltimore, Maryland (Chinese: 巴爾的摩; pinyin: bā ěr de mó) is home to a small Chinatown. Historically, Baltimore had at least two districts that were called "Chinatown" where the first one existed on the 200 block of Marion Street during the 1880s. A second and current location is at the 300 block of Park Ave., which was dominated by laundries and restaurants. The initial Chinese population came because of the transcontinental railroad, however, the Chinese population never exceeded 400 as of 1941. During segregation, Chinese children were classified as "white" and went to the white schools. Chinatown was largely gone by the First World War due to urban renewal. Although Chinatown was largely spared from the riots of the 1960s, most of the Chinese residents moved to the suburbs. As of 2009, the area still shows signs of blight and does not have a Chinese arch. As of 2017, the area has become an “immigration hub” for Ethiopian people.. In 2018, a mural of a Chinese dragon and an African lion was painted to signify the past as a Chinatown and the present as an African neighborhood. A night market in September 2018 marked the first Asian celebration of the area to an area that was “long forgotten and neglected”.

Chinatown, Salt Lake City

This article is about the old Chinatown in Salt Lake City. For the newer Chinatown, see South Salt Lake, UtahHistorically, the city of Salt Lake City, Utah, had a Chinatown that was located in a section called "Plum Alley" that contained a Chinese population that worked in the mining camps and the transcontinental railroad. The first Chinese peoples came in the 1860s and had formed a historical Chinatown in a section called "Plum Alley" on Second South Street which lasted until 1952. The area had a network of laundromats, restaurants and oriental specialty shops.

While most residents kept within their micro-community, the residents did take part in some local Salt Lake City traditions. According to the tourist sign located at the former Chinatown, the Salt Lake City's New Year's Day Parade featured a "200 foot long Chinese dragon." According to KUED TV, Plum Alley was eventually razed "... and was replaced by Regent Street Parking Terrace". According to KUED, around 1,800 Chinese lived here with "... a network of laundries, restaurants, Oriental specialty shops..." and "... gambling joints, providing the social outlet for many of the lonely residents..." who were bachelors.

Chinese Museum, Melbourne

The Chinese Museum or Museum of Chinese Australian History is an Australian history museum located in Melbourne's Chinatown. The museum was established in 1985 with a charter to present the history of Australians of Chinese ancestry. An extensive refurbishment funded by the Victorian Government was completed in 2010. Since then, the museum has also acted as a Chinatown Visitor Centre.The building that currently houses the Museum was built by the Cohen Bros in 1890 and used as a warehouse for the manufacture of furniture. It was later sold to Her Majesty's Theatre and used as a storage space for their extensive collection of costumes. In 1984 the Victorian Government, with support from the Victorian Tourism Commission, the Chinese Community and the Melbourne City Council the building was purchased from Her Majesty's Theatre and the museum formally established. There is temporary exhibition space in which local and international artists can present work that engages with the Chinese culture.

The museum has a range of permanent exhibitions relating to Chinese experiences in the 19th Century Australian Goldfields and uses objects from their extensive collection to tell stories that highlight the relationships between Australians and Chinese culture.

It holds an extensive collection of Chinese clothing and textiles, photographs, documents and artifacts that reflect the social fabric and activities of the Chinese community in Australia from the 1850s. The museum is also home to Dai Loong and the Millennium Dragon, the largest Chinese dragon in the world.

Chinese alligator

The Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis, simplified Chinese: 扬子鳄; traditional Chinese: 揚子鱷; pinyin: yángzǐ'è), also known as the Yangtze alligator, China alligator, or historically the muddy dragon, is a critically endangered crocodilian endemic to China. It and the American alligator are the only living species in the genus Alligator of the family Alligatoridae. Dark gray or black in color with a fully armored body, the Chinese alligator grows to 1.5–2.1 metres (5–7 ft) in length and weighs 36–45 kilograms (80–100 lb) as an adult. It brumates in burrows in winter and is nocturnal in summer. Mating occurs in early summer, with females most commonly producing 20–30 eggs, which are smaller than those of any other crocodilian. The species is an opportunistic feeder, primarily eating fish and invertebrates. A vocal species, adults bellow during the mating season and young vocalize to communicate with their parents and other juveniles. Captive specimens have reached age 70, and wild specimens can live to over 50.

Living in bodies of fresh water, the Chinese alligator's range is restricted to six regions in the province of Anhui, as well as possibly the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang. Originally living as far away from its current range as Japan, the species previously had a wide range and population, but beginning in 5000 BC, multiple threats, such as habitat destruction, caused the species' population and range to decline. The population in the wild was about 1000 in the 1970s, decreased to below 130 in 2001, and grew after 2003, with its population being about 300 as of 2017. Listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, multiple conservation actions have been taking place for this species. Several breeding facilities, both in China and foreign countries, have bred specimens in captivity and sometimes released them back into the wild.

The Chinese alligator has been a part of Chinese literature since the third century. In the late 1200s, Marco Polo became the first person outside of China to write about it. In some writings, the Chinese alligator has been associated with the Chinese dragon. Many pieces of evidence suggest that the Chinese alligator was the inspiration for the Chinese dragon.


Dilong (traditional Chinese: 地龍; simplified Chinese: 地龙; pinyin: dìlóng; Wade–Giles: ti-lung; lit. "earth dragon") is a Chinese dragon name that is also used to mean "earthworm" in traditional Chinese medicine and Geosaurus in zoological nomenclature.


A dragon is a large, serpent-like legendary creature that appears in the folklore of many cultures around the world. Beliefs about dragons vary drastically by region, but dragons in western cultures since the High Middle Ages have often been depicted as winged, horned, four-legged, and capable of breathing fire. Dragons in eastern cultures are usually depicted as wingless, four-legged, serpentine creatures with above-average intelligence.

The earliest attested dragons resemble giant snakes. Dragon-like creatures are first described in the mythologies of the ancient Near East and appear in ancient Mesopotamian art and literature. Stories about storm-gods slaying giant serpents occur throughout nearly all Indo-European and Near Eastern mythologies. Famous prototypical dragons include the mušḫuššu of ancient Mesopotamia; Apep in Egyptian mythology; Vṛtra in the Rigveda; the Leviathan in the Hebrew Bible; Python, Ladon, Wyvern, and the Lernaean Hydra in Greek mythology; Jörmungandr, Níðhöggr, and Fafnir in Norse mythology; and the dragon from Beowulf.

The popular western image of a dragon as winged, four-legged, and capable of breathing fire is an invention of the High Middle Ages, based on a conflation of earlier dragons from different traditions. In western cultures, dragons are portrayed as monsters to be tamed or overcome, usually by saints or culture heroes, as in the popular legend of Saint George and the Dragon. They are often said to have ravenous appetites and to live in caves, where they hoard treasure. These dragons appear frequently in western fantasy literature, including The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, and A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin.

The word "dragon" has also come to be applied to the Chinese lung (龍, Pinyin long), which are associated with good fortune and are thought to have power over rain. Dragons and their associations with rain are the source of the Chinese customs of dragon dancing and dragon boat racing. Many East Asian deities and demigods have dragons as their personal mounts or companions. Dragons were also identified with the Emperor of China, who, during later Chinese imperial history, was the only one permitted to have dragons on his house, clothing, or personal articles.

Dragon beard hook

The Chinese dragon beard hook (also known as the Longxu hook) is a thrown entangling/trapping concealable weapon. It features a two pronged steel hook about 33 cm long. An iron ring on a crescent-shaped body allows a rope to be attached. The hooks consist of two spearheads, 20 cm apart. The ends of the hooks are serrated. The rope is typically 10 metres long, and can be tied to the wrist of the user. This allowed the user to snag and reel in an adversary, which made the weapon very popular amongst constables in bygone days.Training to use the weapon is much like learning to use a rope dart. The weapon hails from Song Dynasty.

Dragon boat

A dragon boat is a human-powered watercraft originating from the Pearl River Delta region of China's southern Guangdong Province. These were made of teak, but in other parts of China, different kinds of wood are used. It is one of a family of traditional paddled long boats found throughout Asia, Africa, the Pacific islands, and Puerto Rico. The sport of dragon boat racing has its roots in an ancient folk ritual of contending villagers, which dates back 2000 years throughout southern China, and even further to the original games of Olympia in ancient Greece. Both dragon boat racing and the ancient Olympiad included aspects of religious observances and community celebrations, along with competition.

Dragon boat racing is a canoe-sport, and began as a modern international sport in Hong Kong in 1976. These boats are typically made of carbon fiber, fiberglass, and other lightweight materials. For competition events, dragon boats are generally rigged with decorative Chinese dragon heads and tails. At other times (such as during training), decorative regalia is usually removed, although the drum often remains aboard for drummers to practice. For races, there are 18-20 people in a standard boat, and 8-10 in a small boat, not including the steersperson (helm) and the drummer.

In December 2007, the central government of the People's Republic of China added Duanwu, along with Qingming and Mid-Autumn festivals, to the schedule of national holidays.

Dragon dance

Dragon dance (simplified Chinese: 舞龙; traditional Chinese: 舞龍; pinyin: wǔ lóng) is a form of traditional dance and performance in Chinese culture. Like the lion dance, it is most often seen in festive celebrations. The dance is performed by a team of experienced dancers who manipulate a long flexible figure of a dragon using poles positioned at regular intervals along the length of the dragon. The dance team simulates the imagined movements of this river spirit in a sinuous, undulating manner.

The dragon dance is often performed during Chinese New Year. Chinese dragons are a symbol of China's culture, and they are believed to bring good luck to people, therefore the longer the dragon is in the dance, the more luck it will bring to the community. The dragons are believed to possess qualities that include great power, dignity, fertility, wisdom and auspiciousness. The appearance of a dragon is both fearsome and bold but it has a benevolent disposition, and it was an emblem to represent imperial authority. The movements in a performance traditionally symbolize historical roles of dragons demonstrating power and dignity.


Fenghuang (simplified Chinese: 凤凰; traditional Chinese: 鳳凰; pinyin: fènghuáng; Wade–Giles: fêng⁴-huang²) are mythological birds found in East Asian mythology that reign over all other birds. The males were originally called feng and the females huang but such a distinction of gender is often no longer made and they are blurred into a single feminine entity so that the bird can be paired with the Chinese dragon, which is traditionally deemed male.

The fenghuang is also called the "August Rooster" (simplified Chinese: 鹍鸡; traditional Chinese: 鶤雞 or 鵾雞; pinyin: yùnjī or kūnjī; Wade–Giles: yün4-chi1 or k'un1-chi1) since it sometimes takes the place of the Rooster in the Chinese zodiac. In the Western world, it is commonly called the Chinese phoenix or simply Phoenix, although mythological similarities with the Western phoenix are superficial.


In Chinese mythology the Fucanglong (simplified Chinese: 伏藏龙; traditional Chinese: 伏藏龍; pinyin: Fúcánglóng) or Fu-ts'ang-Lung (Wade-Giles) is the Chinese dragon of hidden treasures and underworld dragon which guard buried treasures, both natural and man-made. Volcanoes are said to form when these dragons burst out of the ground to report to heaven.

The Fucanglong possesses a magic pearl which is its most treasured possession.

Japanese dragon

Japanese dragons (日本の竜 Nihon no ryū) are diverse legendary creatures in Japanese mythology and folklore. Japanese dragon myths amalgamate native legends with imported stories about dragons from China, Korea and Vietnam. The style of the dragon was heavily influenced by the Chinese dragon. Like these other East Asian dragons, most Japanese ones are water deities associated with rainfall and bodies of water, and are typically depicted as large, wingless, serpentine creatures with clawed feet. The modern Japanese language has numerous "dragon" words, including indigenous Tatsu from Old Japanese ta-tu, Sino-Japanese ryū or ryō 竜 from Chinese lóng 龍, nāga ナーガ from Sanskrit nāga, and doragon ドラゴン from English "dragon" (the latter being used almost exclusively to refer to the European dragon and derived fictional creatures).

Kora kora

A kora-kora or kora kora or coracora is a traditional canoe from the Maluku (Moluccas) Islands, Indonesia. It is approximately ten metres long and very narrow, quite open, very low, and weighs about four tons. It had outriggers of bamboo about five feet off each side, which supported a bamboo platform extending the whole length of the vessel. On the extreme outside of this sit the twenty rowers (overall it needs 40 paddlers), while within was a convenient passage fore and aft. The middle portion of the boat is covered with a thatch-house, in which baggage and passengers are stowed. The gunwale is not more than a foot above water, and from the great top and side weight. The shape of the boat itself is similar to a Chinese Dragon Boat.

According to Robert Dick-Read, every leader in the Maluku region has its own ship, the leader's status depends on the number of slaves, who come from a distant island, which he captures and collects. Each ship is rowed by 300 rowers, supported by men armed with spears, blowgun, arrows, and swords in a higher fighting platform called 'balai'. The vessel has two steering wheels on the side, a tall pole in the stern and bow that decorated with ribbons. In the past, these poles were adorned with conquered enemy heads.This boat is used for both trade and warfare. Bigger kora-koras were used as war vessels during the war with the Dutch in the Banda Islands during the 17th century. Since ancient times the steerer and paddlers of these traditional Moluccan rowing boats yelled "Mena Muria", to synchronise their strokes during off shore expeditions. This literally means 'Front - Back', but is also translated to "I go - We follow" or "One for all - All for One".

Some of the bigger rowing boats could have over 100 rowers and when used on the maritime war path, during for instance a so-called hongitocht (war expeditions for the Dutch East India Company during the 17th century), the approach of the kora kora struck fear in the hearts of the villagers from the attacked coastal village.

List of legendary creatures by type

This is a list of legendary creatures from mythology, folklore and fairy tales, sorted by their classification or affiliation. Creatures from modern fantasy fiction and role-playing games are not included.

Panda Cup

The Panda Cup International Youth Football Tournament (Chinese: 熊猫杯国际青年足球邀请赛) is an annual international youth football tournament that is held in the city of Chengdu, China.

The tournament was first announced in April 2014.The original logo was designed by a Los Angeles based Chinese student, it was inspired by a Chinese dragon, a giant panda and the Olympic rings.Originally an under 19 event, the tournament format began as a single round league format. Prior to the 2019 event tournament the China Football Association announced the intention to expand the format in future years to include more teams or multiple age groups. An international youth football development seminar and other events run in conjunction with the Panda Cup.

Radical 212

Radical 212, 龍, 龙, or 竜 meaning "dragon", is one of only two of the 214 Kangxi radicals that are composed of 16 strokes. The character arose as a stylized drawing of a Chinese dragon, and refers to a version of the dragon in each East Asian culture:

Chinese dragon, Lóng in Chinese

Japanese dragon, Ryū or Tatsu in Japanese

Korean dragon, Ryong or Yong in Korean

Vietnamese dragon, Rồng in VietnameseIt may also refer to the Dragon as it appears in the Chinese zodiac. It is used as the symbol for Tatsu, a roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain, in California.

In the Kangxi Dictionary there are only 14 characters (out of 40,000) to be found under this radical.

It occurs as a phonetic complement in some fairly common Chinese characters, for example 聾 = "deaf", which is composed of 龍 "dragon" and the "ear" 耳 radical, 耳, pronounced similarly to 龍: "dragon gives sound, ear gives meaning".


Shen may refer to:

Shen (Chinese religion) (神), a central word in Chinese philosophy, religion, and traditional Chinese medicine; term for God or Spirit

Shen (clam-monster) (蜃), a shapeshifting Chinese dragon believed to create mirages

Shenendehowa Central School District, abbreviated as Shen

Shen ring, an Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol, a form of cartouche

Warak ngendog

Warak ngendog (egg laying bird) is a mythical creature resembling a rhinoceros carrying eggs on its back. This creature, celebrated during the Dugderan Festival held annually on September 23 a few days before the holiday of Ramadan, is believed to represent three different ethnic groups in Semarang: Javanese, Chinese and Arabian. Its head is like a dragon (Chinese), its body is the combination of buraq (a special animal resembling the winged horse with a human head believed to take Muhammad to Sidratil Muntaha -> Arabian) and goat (Javanese).

The creature is described to be part giraffe, part lion, part Chinese dragon, part horse, and part bird and is made into popular toys for the children to play with during the festival.

Standard Mandarin
Hanyu Pinyinlóng
Yue: Cantonese
Yale Romanizationlùhng
Southern Min
Tâi-lôlîng (col.)
liông (lit.)
Middle Chinese
Middle Chineselɨoŋ
Old Chinese
Baxter–Sagart (2014)*mə-roŋ
Zhengzhang*b·roŋ or *mroːŋ
Overview topics
Major personages
Popular literary works
In mythology
In culture
In fiction
In art
Countries and regions
Ethnic groups
Politics and economics
Science and technology


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.